Mandy Patinkin

Mandy Patinkin Sings Sondheim

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Recorded live in concert in Philadelphia, this album features Mandy Patinkin running through a number of Sondheim's works fresh off of a string of performances by Patinkin in Sunday in the Park With George. The songs covered are presented in a manner definitely less than chronological, but instead in an order with some meaning to Patinkin (at least according to his introduction in the liner notes). The format is straightforward, with each song beginning immediately after the previous; no breaks taken and no chatting with the audience indulged in (as is usually Patinkin's habit). Patinkin is an outstanding singer, with an intimate knowledge of the lyrical content of Sondheim's works, which is arguably the most important aspect in his pieces. He's able to run through the high speed pitter-patter lyrics that were essential to some of the songs. His vocal range gets rather tested in the high ends from time to time, but as long as he stays in a decent middle range, he can power the songs just as needed, switching back to softer, gentler vocals as needed as well. Pianist and co-arranger Paul Ford also provides some ample ability in accompaniment. While Sondheim had only one real hit, Patinkin treats each song with the same reverence of a Broadway follower. It might get a bit melodramatic at times, but that's really part of the point of Broadway in the first place. For someone looking for a nice introduction to Sondheim's sound, this wouldn't make a bad start. For those who are already aficionados of the collection of music, this vocalist might not be a bad one to hear. Either way, the album deserves a listen or two.

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